Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Afghanistan to develop trade with South Asia through new logistical hub 

Business news correspondent
The parties will use the hub to export oil to southern markets / Collage by Kursiv.media, photo editor: Aruzhan Makhsotova 

Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and the Taliban movement have agreed to build a logistical center in West Afghanistan, Reuters reported. The Talibs hope they benefit from this hub if Russia exports its oil to South Asia, in particular to Pakistan. 

According to Minister of Commerce and Industry of Afghanistan Nooruddin Azizi, the parties will prepare an official agreement within two months. He also said that this logistical hub will be able to accept up to one million tons of oil at the initial stage.

«The logistical center will be established in the Herat province. It will connect North and South Asia. The three countries have done everything possible to prove Afghanistan is a key element in this chain,» Azizi stated. 

The Afghani official believes that Kazakhstan will be able to export its products to the markets of South Asia through Herat. The Ministry of Trade of Kazakhstan told Reuters that it plans to build car and railway roads through Afghanistan to pave the way to South Asian countries and the Gulf nations.

«Once the hub is ready it will facilitate the development of multimodal services through consolidation of cargo shipments in a dry port where they will be sorted out and shipped by the North-South railway corridor to seaports of the Persian Gulf, Pakistan and the Indian Ocean toward India proper,» the Ministry of Trade said in a statement.

The government of Kazakhstan predicts that the amount of exports to Afghanistan will increase by 40% in the next several years. The amount of shipment is expected to grow threefold by 2030.

According to Vice Prime Minister of Kazakhstan Serik Zhumangarin, Kazakhstan is interested in useful mineral exploration in Afghanistan and exporting its cars with further localization of dealer centers for technical maintenance. He made this statement during his official visit to 

Afghanistan in late April. Moreover, the two countries negotiated the export of $12 million worth of sunflower oil, grain and flour 

Azizi also revealed negotiations between the Taliban and China about constructing a new road in the narrow Wakhan corridor that connects Afghanistan and China. Talibs also hope that their country will become a main trading route between China and Iran. The Ministry of Commerce of Afghanistan has already sent its employees to China for training.

Afghanistan is betting on its transit potential as its economy, mostly agricultural, is suffering from long-lasting drought and shrinking international aid. Azizi believes that Afghanistan’s location is strategically important, citing that the country used to be a crucial transport route of the Silk Road stretching between South and Central Asia many centuries ago.

The context. In late December 2023, Kazakhstan’s MFA announced its intention to remove the Taliban from the country’s list of terrorist organizations. Aibek Smadiyarov, the official spokesperson for the ministry noted that Kazakhstan would develop political contacts with Afghanistan based on decisions and resolutions of the U.N. He also said that the Taliban has been trying to open diplomatic relations with various countries, including Kazakhstan and improve its image on the global stage since 2021, when it seized control over the entire territory of Afghanistan. Kazakhstan has designated the Taliban as a terrorist organization since 2005.

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